The wonderful woofers that share their lives with us may have inherited the green-eyed monster. As humans feel pangs of jealousy for the guy who's just been promoted or bought a lovely new home, our doggy pals are just as capable of feeling envy.
Ever noticed if your dog gets agitated when you make a fuss of a friends dog in the park? You might misread the signals and think they want to leave but the truth is they may actually be jealous of all that attention you are heaping on another dog. If you are surprised to hear that canines can be jealous and want to know why, stay tuned to this page!
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Signs A Dog Is Feeling Jealous
Ever noticed how many dogs are terribly possessive of their owners?
Envy may be one of the seven deadly sins but it is part of our social interaction with others and how we compare the things around us. A person’s lottery win may be cheered on by some while others believe it should have been them. The same applies to dogs, who generally enjoy the social buzz of human friends and other canines, while a select few prefer the company of one person only.
As you approach with good intentions their body language is on red alert as they bark and growl - telling you to back off! This doggy dictator has crossed the line and their owner may think it’s kind of cute - but if it was a human acting up like this, people would avoid them at all cost.
Monster mutts are anti-social and control the entire home if manners are not quickly learned. They guard their pet beds, food and toys with a vengeance until the family is tip-toeing between rooms.
People can be controlling and so can dogs - who will make your home a war-zone if they are left to run riot. It’s important to get the right advice before you introduce a new pup into the home. Without the help of a professional, your jealous pooch could create some serious problems. If their behavior is not modified, they could hurt really someone.
If your dog is acting like the monarch of your home, or snapping at other dogs when you are out on a walk - it’s time to get a training program to help them change their ways.
History of Dogs Feeling Jealousy
You don’t have to tell a dog owner that their super-loyal Labrador might get a wee bit jealous now and then. Perhaps you stroked the cat, when in their mind it should have been them. The primaeval emotion of jealousy seems hard-wired into mankind and raises its ugly head when someone steals his mate, takes the top job at his company or just seems to do better in life.
Insecurity and envy can begin at an early age when parents play favorites with their kids, or children are more popular at school. Humans often have imaginary thoughts and get jealous about a non-existent affair. Animals have no time for fabricated jealousy while they're foraging for food and surviving in the wild.
In the 19th century, naturalist Charles Darwin believed dogs were capable of jealous thoughts, long before the sceptics said dogs couldn't feel a thing.That’s been proven wrong with studies showing dogs feel emotion, jealousy and know us pretty darn well.
On an evolutionary level, it looks like we have evolved with jealousy in our make-up, as toddlers can exhibit this kind of behavior when a new baby arrives. Out pops the monster mode and little Johnnie is shaking the bassinet, jealous of the newborn.
Our dog-besties have been re-programmed since their days as wolves in the wild during years of domestication and have evolved to align with humans. Dogs are receptors and mimic the bejeebers out of us, similar to the way your toddler might appear wearing dad’s clothes. If you’re doggo sees little Johnnie grabbing the new baby’s rattle, he might help out by burying it outside. Dogs have the mental aptitude of a 2.5-year-old, so this might mean plenty of toddler tantrums all round.
Have dogs got the jealousy bug from us humans?
Its likely through a history of closeness they've picked up vices ingrained in our moral code.
Science Says Dogs Can Get Jealous
A fantastic study of infants was stretched see how it would work with dogs. The findings were truly enlightening and are proof that dogs can be jealous just like us.
A psychology professor and honors student at the University of California videotaped 36 dogs in their home environment, while their owners ignored them in favor of a Halloween bucket and stuffed dog that could bark and whine. The experiment was intriguing, as the dogs generally ignored the pail but were more interested in the relationship between the pretend dog and their guardian. Dog owners were instructed to talk to both objects as if it were their real dog – while their dogs looked enviously on. The owners were also asked to read from a pop-up book that played music to check out the reaction of the dogs.
Around 78% of the dogs pawed their owner when they were talking to the pretend dog while 42% were interested in the pail and 22% in the book. One dog losing his patience took his anger out on the toy. The look-and-sound-alike pooch was their focus, as many of them tried to push in-between their pet parent and the fake dog. The researchers believe the dogs were jealous the same way kids are when a new baby comes home - linking another human emotion to our favorite canine pals.
As their caring owners, we have the power in our hands to make our jealous pups feel safe and secure or paranoid and unsure. It’s important to play fair with the dogs in your home so they never have cause to feel jealous of family members or woofers they meet in the park
Training Tips For Jealous Dogs
If you have a bold Boston Terrier that sits on your partner's lap, giving you the evils when you try to get close - it’s time to bring out the training manual and get this jealous pooch on track.
Tell your partner to make Bonzo sit while you get close to your partner on the couch. Then call him over and pet him so he feels the love from you both. If he snarls at you or growls ask your partner to move him away and make him stay. The idea is for Bonzo to feel you are no threat and ready to be friends. This can take time if your partner has been on his own, as you’ve entered Bonzo's territory and he’s afraid you’ll take his master away.
If you are trying to introduce a new dog into the home, make Bonzo lie down so he’s comfortable while you work on his jealous ways. Keep them at a distance as you try to help them get along. Pet the new dog - then Bonzo, giving treats for good behavior and a ton of puppy love. Keep doing this as often as you can until both dogs know its fair loving only in this soon to be happy home. Over time, make the distance closer so the pooches learn how to get along, but if Bonzo pushes in with his jealousy - get up and walk away.
If Bonzo doesn’t know how to sit and stay, you’ll need to teach the basics to make this really work. Bonzo needs to learn politeness and not to be pushy with other dogs or people. Jealousy is a powerful emotion that can cause havoc when a dog is in control.
Have you ever seen that out of control two-year-old in the supermarket, screaming as he pushes over the display of canned foods? His mother smiles embarrassingly at onlookers, saying she doesn’t know what to do with him, he’s naughty all the time.
A dog that has never known boundaries will act like this unruly child. Taking charge of the home base and keeping people from visiting you, because they are scared of being around your dog! Your pup might want to exterminate anything that looks at you twice, but that’s not healthy behaviour for you or the dog.
How to React When Your Dog Gets Jealous
Find out what the dog is jealous of.
Start training them to stop being jealous.
Give rewards if they are not jealous of you petting another dog.
Make them sit or stay as you pet another dog you've brought home.
Don't leave them alone with a baby if they jealous of it coming into the home.
Get advice from top trainers about how to help your jealous dog.